June 23, 2014 by aggiesez
I’m heading out for a week to help my family of origin weather a sudden, painful loss. Part of preparing myself to offer lots of emotional support is to make sure I have lots of support.
So yesterday I reached out to a couple dozen close friends who I trust to be understanding and supportive. This includes my current lover, former spouse, two former lovers, and one former metamour. Just told them what’s happening and asking them to send me messages of encouragement and support in the coming week. They all responded positively, and many said to call or text anytime.
It occurs to me: Friendship is the basis of any relationship I care to have. It’s the foundation of my chosen family — which is defined more by emotional presence and active connection than roles. While I’m currently very emotionally intimate with my fairly new lover, he is but one of many amazing friends in my life.
And for dealing with grief/loss I prefer to reach out widely, to my broader network of deep connections, to savor the uniqueness and vitality of each person and what they freely offer me when I’m in need.
As I wait to board the week’s first flight, I think: Put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others.
My network of friends/loves is my greatest wealth. It’s what keeps me grounded, too.
I think a big benefit of being solo poly is that I’m less tempted to reflexively overvalue or discount any relationship I’ve chosen and nurtured simply because it involves sex/romance, cohabitation, or has existed longer.
Not enough people ask for emotional support when they need it, let alone proactively in times of need. But I’ve learned it’s a valuable life skill. As is nurturing a diverse, robust support network — whether you’re solo, poly or not.
How do you nurture your own support network/family of choice? How do you call on them when you’re in need? And how do you make sure you keep an ear available for their calls?